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Tibone advocates for support to local companies

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Speaking at the recent Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) opening bell ceremony in Gaborone, businessman Charles Tibone has bemoaned that the economy is hunting for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and shunning local entrepreneurs.

He has therefore implored Government and the public in general to embrace growth of local businesses.“The core of your economy is your people and our businesses (local businesses) should be seen as assets in the economy,” Tibone said. Tibone said great initiatives have crumbled, due to market resistance which he views as the main challenge for most entrepreneurs.
Citing his pharmaceutical company which closed shop after two years of operation in the early 90s, Tibone said failure to get local support before accessing the export market, lead to the closure of the business.

Tibone said lack of local support is crippling many businesses, adding that once a business is funded or initiated, the owners should work hard.“You are on your own,” said Tibone emphasizing that most local entrepreneurs have had more failures than success, due to the limited success. Tibone’s sentiments are also shared by Botswana Export Manufacturers Association (BEMA), Nkosi Mwaba, who is on record calling for the local market to offer unwavering support to local enterprises.

“We need to unapologetically support, protect and develop local industries before rushing to conform to often unrealistic regional trade expectations,” Mwaba said. Mwaba further said free trade and an open border system is fair if aligned to the healthy development and growth of Botswana companies.

Meanwhile government has recently announced that it is enacting a Business Facilitation Law which will enhance the country’s international standing as an investment destination of choice. Last year, Botswana One Stop Service Shop Centre (BOSSC) was launched to shorten the turnaround time for foreign businesses seeking various government authorizations, business registration, issuance of work and residents permits at no cost to ensure quality service standards to investors.

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Cell City rewards customers

Keikantse Lesemela

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Cell City gave away two Toyota Hilux pick up cars worth about P300 000 and three Hisense televion sets worth P15 000 each to their customers through their annual competition.

In partnership with Hisense and Orange Botswana, Cell City conducts annual competitions to reward their customers and contribute to citizen empowerment. Handing over the cars on Friday, Cell City Chief Executive Officer, Brian White said through the competition they want to satisfy their customers and give back to the community. “Cell City and Orange clients were given a chance to win either a Toyota Hilux pickup or a Hisense television set.

All they had to do was purchase any Hisense mobile phone from a Cell City or Orange retail outlet and fill in the competition form in the store,” said White.Thato Ntshabele, who won one of the cars told the Business Trends that she bought a Hisense cell phone worth P900. 00.

“I never expected that I can win a car. I was just filling the forms and dropped into the entry box and I forgot about it. I am so happy to receive this prize and I thank Cell City for this opportunity,” said Ntshabele. Another winner, Dimakatso Mmusi expressed his excitement saying he had always wanted a van and he is grateful to Cell City.

“I just bought a cell phone worth P899.00 at Cell City Railpark mall, I never expected anything, and I was just submitting the form as I was requested by the shop assistants. This car is very useful to me,” said Dimakatso.

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Smecha chillie hits the shelves

Keikantse Lesemela

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For the love of food and the passion to apply modern technology processes in food manufacturing locally, Kgalaletso Mothoagae established her own brand, Smecha specializing in relishes.

She processes and packages chillie in 325 gramms and 1 litre bottles selling at P50 and P150. She told the Business Trends that she decided to process chillies as it is one of the products that are rarely processed in the food industry.

She started cooking it for home consumption and later started selling to friends and currently the product has gone beyond borders at South African Spar shops and Restaurants. “I couldn’t look for any other vegetable as most of them have already been processed in the market. It is my first product of research in the food industry so I found out that I can do good business with this product. This chillie is free from preservatives but still has extended shelf life of 6 months,” said Mothoagae

The Kanye born young lady studied food technology and has the passion to explore the food processing market in Botswana and contribute to reduce the high food import bill. “I wanted to explore more about food and use my skills to contribute to the development of the local food processing and manufacturing industry. I also wanted to supplement my income at the same time,” said Mothoagae.

She has a degree in Food Technology. She says there is a lot of potential for business growth as there is a demand for the product locally and in South Africa. “My main customers are individuals in homes, they have embraced the product, and they love the taste. There is also a market that has been secured in SA; it is available in several shops like spars and some restaurants”. In future, Mothoagae said she would increase the product range to 10 using various vegetables and flavours.

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